We spoke with Sophie Clarke, social media manager at Radisson Hotel Group, our Advisory Board Member and a keynote speaker at Best Stay 2018.

What are the biggest changes in hotel marketing in the last five years? 

So much has changed in hotel marketing over the past years, but to pick a couple of key changes I’d have to say technology and hotel companies themselves. From a hotel company perspective, we’ve seen a lot of consolidation. I was working for Starwood Hotels at the time of merging with Marriott which launched the world’s largest hotel company, and we can see other companies also consolidating including Accor Hotels purchasing Fairmont Raffles and Onefinestay. And I doubt these will be the last. From a technology standpoint, there’s continuous development from opening your room with your mobile phone, to the rise of flows and bots automating the research and booking process on Social Media.

What are the biggest challenges in your job today? What advice would you give to other hoteliers to approach these challenges? 

For me, one of the biggest challenges is showcasing that Marketing goes way beyond storytelling. Especially in Social Media, because a lot of people use their personal social media accounts on a daily basis, many people consider themselves as experts in the field. What I work on is showcasing all the work we do within Content Marketing and Social Media and building a business case to show everything from content production and distributing content to our target audiences, to managing Social Care as more and more people turn to Social Media to comment on their experiences, and Social Commerce. I love that part of my job – surprising people with everything we can achieve. The best advice I can give is to showcase what you do. If you’ve done something great, create a presentation showing the clear KPIs and ROI and send it to key stakeholders. Because the social landscape is constantly changing, you need to show what you do as a lot of people aren’t familiar with these new forms of advertising.

What new technologies, platforms, and social media channels seem promising to you? What do you think will be the big trend of the next few years?

We’re already seeing a lot of advancement in the world of flows & bots and I definitely think we’re still going to see a lot more in this space. Already some companies like airlines are letting you book and receive your flight documentation by Facebook Messenger. I really look forward to seeing more of where travel companies can go with AI but I hope, especially in this industry, we don’t lose the human touch. In hospitality, we absolutely need to retain that.

What are your most important metrics for ROI? 

In Social Media, we work with many different performance indicators from brand awareness activities to re-targeting acquisition efforts. For me, one of the most interesting new developments has been the implementation of the Facebook Pixel as an enabler. This pixel has enabled us to build Custom and Lookalike audiences and work with Facebook directly as one of the first hotel companies to take full advantage of Dynamic Ads for Travel.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Best Stay?

I think this year’s event has a really interesting theme of ‘new trends’. I look forward to hearing many different perspectives on new trends in the travel industry.

Have your own questions for Sophie? Make sure you are at Best Stay 2018 – register before June 1 for the very best prices.